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Just got a 1988 Excel SE.

Came with no manuals or handbooks

Currently fitted 215/50 15 Tyres up front and 225/50 15 Tyres at rear. Is this correct ? Should they be the same all round? If so which one

Also what tyre pressures to run ( only point of reference is Sue's esprit which runs 21/25 psi or a modern car running 33/33 psi)?

Until I get a manual or handbook (can anybody lend or sell me one cheap) I'll be asking loads of silly questions


Edited by Mr_John111
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hi John, Feel free to ask away to me, I have the service notes and handbook.

Originally they are fitted with 215 all round, but these are difficult to find these days. 225 it a bit wide for the rear, most people are running 205/50 all round as do I. I've Toyo's on, but have heard that newer revisions are not quite as good but have no personal experience. Next set of tyres i'll prob switch to continentals as I run them on another car and am very happy.

I run 25psi all round and have even tyre wear. Please please ask any questions and don't break it, the Excels are lovely cars!

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Thanks fitz

With no handbook I don't know how to check the horn ! I'm pushing the button in the centre of the wheel both stalks but nothing happens.

Is the fuse diagram in the handbook? I have no brake or reverse lights either and so having checked the bulbs my next thought was the fuse but can't work out which one !

Other than that I just need to get the brakes working put it in for an MOT and see what needs fixing.

Needs 2 front Tyres (rears look ok) so 205 / 50 front and 225 / 50 rears shouldn't cause any problems?

Oil pressure gauge is maxed out and as it's VDO I think it has an electrical sender somewhere ( probably under the carbs that's where lotus seem to put everything!) rather that the capillary pipe in sues turbo esprit with smiths instruments, so I suspect a short/broken wire or faulty sensor

In terms of oil, presumably no need for the mobil1 that sues car needs. I'm thinking a good 20w50 such as Valvoline?

Central locking mirrors windows and headlamp lift motors work so not too many electrical gremlins.

Oh another question are the headlamps dim dip as there seem to be 3 settings sides, something, mains then push stalk for full beams?


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a) The button in the middle of the steering wheel should sound the horn. If it has been stood for a while the compressor may be stuck. the compressor and horns are mounted under the passenger side headlamp pod, but you should be able to get access to the plastic tube supplying the air to the horns, try some WD40 down there, and check electrical contacts etc. The compressor from a normal air horn pack from wilco etc should work fine, so you could just swap and check further if that doesn't work.

b) Fuse locations for reverse and brake respectively are both 4 Amps, and are the 4th and 5th horizonal fuses in the middle of the three columns in the fuse tray. This can be accesssed by turned the two plastic screws on the panel under the steering wheel, it is then on your right. If it is not the fuses the micro switches could be broken, or the brake pedal may have 'moved' if you invert yourself in the drivers footwell (get used to doing this in an excel), and then follow the leading edge of the brake pedal up into the pedal box, you can then see the microswitch, push it in and get someone to help to see if the brake lights come on, you should be able to see the pedal has been bent so is not making contact.

c) 205s front and 225's rear shouldn't be an issue, it is worth checking the rears for signs of rubbing as this is very possible. They excel was designed for matching tyres, so the ideal solutions is 205s all round.

d) It is fairly normal for the oil pressure gauge to read 5 bar until the car is hot, and will read 5 at load, but drop to anything down to around 1 bar when stinking hot. There were two sets of oil pressure gauges a 5 bar and a 7 bar, it is possible you have a mismatched sender, or an electrical fault as you suspect.

e) The term dim-dip refers to a '87 year requirement which was short lived, if with the side on, your headlight pods popup, you have a dim dip car. The positions on the stalk for lights are pull forward for main, push for flash. The dial goes off - valet - side - dip. Valet through me out when i got mine, if you turn to side and then back to valet, the pods will stay open but unlit for cleaning.

Anything else please fire away :)

PS Valvoline is highly recommended for the oil :) Mike T is the man for it.

I think i've got the full beam the wrong way round, pull to flash, push to stay..

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The oil pressure flips straight over to the stops when the key is turned but the starter has not yet even cranked or started the engine

Thanks for fuse positions

With Sue's esprit I have already gotten used to the lotus position upside down in the footwell


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